There can seem like an overwhelming amount of therapist’s out there, each working in a different way. This presents a substantial challenge when selecting which therapist to work with. How do you know which one you can work best with? Which one is going to help with what you are seeking counselling for? What follows are five tips to start you on your journey to find the ideal counsellor for you.
- Registration with a professional organisation
There are several professional, regulatory organisations for counsellors in the UK. The two biggest of these are; BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy). To be a member of one of these a counsellor has to of had the appropriate training, be in regular supervision, maintain a minimum number of CPD hours per year and adhere to the ethical guidelines of that organisation. By making sure that, a prospective counsellor is a member of one of these organisations you are insuring that they practice in an ethical and nationally recognised way. You can find out if a counsellor is a member of one of these organisations by searching there name in the organisations website. For the BACP search here: https://www.bacp.co.uk/search/Register. For UKCP search here: https://psychotherapy.force.com/DirectoryApi__Directory?autonumber=SD-00000003&site=a0d24000001VW3nAAG. Counsellors will usually make it clear on their websites and/or directory listings what organisations they are members of. When a counsellor has the letters MBACP after their name this is also an indication that they are a member of the BACP.
- Ask questions
This is something that can be incredibly useful when deciding what counsellor to see. If you are unsure of what counselling is, how it might help you or if a certain counsellor is right for your needs then get in contact with that counsellor. The majority of counsellors will have an email address or phone number that you can use to contact them. It is important to remember that by contacting a counsellor to ask questions about the service you are in no way obliged to see that counsellor for therapy. The most important thing is that you find a counsellor you feel safe with and can work with. This may mean contacting several counsellors to ask questions about their practice before making an informed decision.
- Enquire about a free consultation
Many counsellors will offer an initial free consultation. This may be in person or over the phone. This is a great way to explain why you are seeking counselling and to get more of a feel if this is the right person for you.
- Think about specialities
One way to narrow down what counsellor to see is to think about why are seeking counselling. Is there a specific issue you are facing that you need help with? Many counsellors specialise in working with clients with a specific presenting problem. For example, if you are struggling with OCD you can narrow your search by looking for counsellors specialising in working with OCD. A counsellor may also specialise in working with a certain group of clientele. For example, working with young adults. This information will normally be displayed on a counsellor’s website or counselling directory. Alternatively, you can always ask a counsellor if they work in any specialised area.
- Ask other practitioners
Another way of finding the right counsellor for you is to ask the advice of other trusted practitioners. This could be your GP, nutritionist, solicitor, Physiotherapist as well as many others. These practitioners will often have a working knowledge of local counsellors who they have referred other people to in the past.
I hope these five tips have helped to narrow that search down. The most important thing is that you find the right counsellor for your individual needs. Happy hunting!